This past Wednesday evening, Chazaq coordinated a communal unity Tehilim event for the neighborhood of North Woodmere. Over 150 attendees gathered in person at Congregation Ohr Torah, while well over a thousand more watched online on 5 Towns Central and as neighborhood rabbonim took to the pulpit to recite the sacred words of Dovid HaMelech.

When tragic news of a horrific fatal crash broke on Motza’ei Shabbos, December 11, there was a general understanding that every decision comes from Hashem. As a klal, we turn to tefilah when faced with tragedy and maintain a strong belief in Hashem’s ultimate plan. In recovery are Mrs. Miriam Meltser, her daughter Aliza, and Aliza’s friends Chana Eliana and Rachael. “It is upon each of us to strengthen our mitzvos and tefillah tonight at this time is critical time,” said Robbie Aboff, Chazaq event’s coordinator.

Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO of Chazaq, related, “It is very apropos that this community unity event is connected to this week’s parshah of Vayechi. We bless our children like Ephraim and Menashe and we know that Ephraim is younger than Menashe, but he was not arrogant at the fact that he had Yaakov Aveinu’s right hand and Menashe who was older was not jealous of his younger brother. The fact that they were united – like we are here tonight – is what Hakadosh Baruch Hu wants of us.” Rabbi Meirov pointed out that the Shechinah was removed from Yaakov Aveinu before he was niftar so that he could not reveal the end of days. The geulah will come by gathering and getting together. “Let this gathering with all the kehillos of the neighborhood bring a geulah for the community and the families affected,” said Rabbi Meirov.

Chazaq is no stranger to North Woodmere. In recent years, Congregation Ohr Torah, under the leadership of Rabbi Yehuda Eliyahu and Rabbi Aryeh Dachs, has opened its doors to the organization for children’s programming around chagim and for a Sunday school program Shaping Lives for children in public school.

The chizuk program began as a mere thought at the Chazaq headquarters and was made possible through the devotion of Rabbi Shmuel Witkin of Kehillas Bnai Hayeshivos. The community of North Woodmere exemplifies unity. All their shuls collaborated in the program - Beis Haknesses of North Woodmere and Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, Khal Chassidim and Rabbi Teddy Newman, Kodesh and Rabbi Joey Rosenfeld, K’hal Lev Avos and Rabbi Shmuel Weinberg, the Young Israel of North Woodmere and Rabbi Yehuda Septimus - as well as the many community leaders and rabbonim lent a helping hand to connect all the dots of the evening. Chaverim of the Five Towns and Rockaway provided logistics.

In attendance was also Miriam’s father Rabbi Avrohom Moshe Binsky, mara d’asra of Kehilas Moreshes Yaakov in Brooklyn, and his son, Miriam’s brother, Rabbi Daniel Yoel Binsky, the assistant rav, who delivered remarks expressing thanks for the way the community has opened themselves to give. “We are one body,” said Miriam’s brother. “The progress is such a kiddush Hashem,” said Rabbi Binsky of his sister’s continued recovery. Rabbi Binsky asked the audience to appreciate each other and ourselves and act as one and not wait for a tragedy as a merit for his sister.

In thanking the participants, Miriam’s father evoked the memory of her grandparents who were killed during the Holocaust as a merit for her recovery. Tehilim was delivered by Rabbi Eliyahu; Rabbi Septimus; Rabbi Yaakov Feitman, rav of the Red Shul; Rabbi Meir Whiteman, rav of TAG; Rabbi Witkin; Rabbi Weinberg; Rabbi Newman; Rabbi Dachs; and Rabbi Yaakov Bender, Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah.

May the continued Tehilim bring a quick refuah to Miriam bas Ina Pesia Yocheved, Aliza bas Miriam, Chana Eliana bas Naomi, and Rachael bas Tamar, amongst all who are sick in klal Yisrael. May our tefilos also uplift the neshamah of Liel Dina bas Efraim a”h.

By Shabsie Saphirstein